Kituo Cha Sheria conducted the inaugural annual paralegal learning forum at Pelican Lodge, Nakuru County on 10th to 12th December 2020. The three-day workshop provided an opportunity for paralegals from across the country to come together to exchange experiences, successes, and discuss strategies for addressing some of the challenges they face in executing their programs.
Held at a time when the nation was faced with COVID-19 pandemic causing unprecedented effect on effective access to justice, the highly interactive forum provided a platform for collaboration with expert-led discussions to help identify and expose different views, peer-to-peer learning and exchange of best practices.
The summit included Presentations on the emerging legal issues; Legal Aid Act, e-filing, PASUNE and justice issues arising from Covid -19 pandemic. The discussions revolved around the need to recognize the role of paralegals in promoting access to justice in local communities, the issue of accreditation under the Legal Aid Act, strengthening the capacity of existing paralegal support networks at both national and regional levels, Sustainability of justice centres, and strengthening the linkages between formal and alternative justice systems in promoting equal access to justice.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Kituo Executive Director, Dr. Annette Mbogo acknowledged the Paralegals as critical pillar in enhancing access to justice through public education and free legal services in remote and marginalized areas.
While giving his keynote address, Okiya Omtatah an activist and human rights defender encouraged the paralegals to teach communities about the law since this was a key tool in the fight against human rights violations. He advised the participants to always use avenues that are likely to deliver results. “As paralegals you should have tools of documentation to record injustices. Never be afraid of doing the right thing, choose your fights carefully, be diplomatic and create connections. Most important equip yourselves with knowledge.” Said Omtatah.